September 11 Part 1

David's "One of a Thousand Stories to Tell" is a true story about brave heroes who sacrificially gave of their lives on and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. It's written by a firefighter who God used to deeply touch one family and help them through the healing process. On that fateful day, when he found a business card while working to clear the debris at Ground Zero, he had no idea how this discovery would change his life and touch so many people in the days ahead.

David's One of a Thousand Stories to Tell

My name is David G. Nadeau and I am from Monroe, Michigan, hometown of General Armstrong Custer. I am a paid-on-call firefighter for Monroe Township Fire Department and I was at Ground Zero for one week starting September 12, 2001. Some of my hundred or so pictures from Ground Zero have been published in EMS magazines. Newspaper reporters from Cooperstown, New York and Lexington, Kentucky have called me wanting to publish this story. That is because someone from the family of the business card I found at Ground Zero told the reporters this story – a story about a business card which is just one of a thousand stories to tell.

Ground Zero

I arrived at Ground Zero on September 12, 2001 with another firefighter. On Friday, September 14, after several hours of working at the front of a bucket brigade—just one of many bucket brigades—there came an opening in the debris pile just big enough for one person to fit in. With the help of a New York firefighter holding my fire boots, I went down into the opening with a flashlight. While down in the hole, everyone up above yelled for silence. At this time we were still hoping to find survivors. I prayed to God to let me find a survivor. There were none.

While backing out of the hole with the help of the New York firefighter (this hole was very small and tight), thick dust and debris was all around me. The void was 6 to 10 feet deep, and opened to a 20 foot circle. Just as I was coming out of the hole, something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention, and for some reason (I still do not know why), I caught this piece of paper just as it was falling through the air back into the void.
Finding A Business Card

When I stood up, the New York firefighter who helped me out of the hole was standing behind me and saw what it was I had in my hands. He said, “Do you know what you found?” I said no and he asked, “Haven’t you seen the news?” I said no again because I'd been working long hours, and there was no time to watch the news. He said the piece of paper was the business card of the Vice President of Canter Fitzgerald from the south tower. This company had lost several hundred employees.

The New York firefighter said he could not believe the business card survived in all of the fire and destruction, as we stood on a 25-30 foot pile of debris. The card came from the 104th floor of the south tower. It was dirty, but legible. I asked the firefighter if he wanted the business card. He said, “No, you came this far to help us, you keep it brother.” That is what he called me, brother.

The whole time I was there, we called each other brother. Firefighters from all over the country were there, and we called each other brother, not firefighter. Firefighters have had traditions for years, and this is one I will never forget.

Out of the millions of tons of debris, I found the business card of a man that had been working, providing for his family, that horrible September day. And no matter what kind of jobs those people had, from janitor to vice president of a large company, or how much money they made, they were all there that day providing for their family. Little did I know how much this business card would affect me for the rest of my life.


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